Center for International Forestry Research climate change team leader and senior scientist Amy Duchelle’s passion for her work is uncontestable. From leading the largest global study on the forest-based emissions reduction mechanism REDD+ to bringing evidence to support complex “jurisdictional approaches” for tackling deforestation – spearheaded by tropical forest governments and their partners – Duchelle’s breadth of work has consistently been not only impressive for ubiquity’s sake, but also for being that most elusive thing in the world of scientific research: consequential.
Fast-talking and sharp-shooting, Duchelle is at ease commanding a room of the toughest scientific critics, be that in a presentation at a U.N. Climate Change Conference or with local communities in the Amazon who rightly question how global climate action benefits them specifically. This comes from her unbreakable backbone of scientific rigor – she has more than 50 peer-reviewed publications to her name – but more fundamentally from her deep love of forests and care for the people around the world whose lives depend on them.
“In this critical moment, in order to protect tropical forests and enhance the rights and livelihoods of local people, scientists should actively engage with diverse constituencies,” she says. “Such engagement is crucial if we are to collectively generate the evidence needed to improve decision-making to tackle climate change.”